Bengaluru

Police start penalising motorists straying into bus priority lane

Only BMTC buses and emergency services are allowed on the bus priority lane on Outer Ring Road between Silk Board junction and K.R. Puram railway station.

Only BMTC buses and emergency services are allowed on the bus priority lane on Outer Ring Road between Silk Board junction and K.R. Puram railway station.   | Photo Credit: G_P_Sampath Kumar

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The fine is ₹500 for the first offence and ₹1,000 for every subsequent one

After over a month of campaigns and awareness drives, which saw the participation of citizens’ groups, the Bengaluru Traffic Police, on Saturday, started imposing penalties on motorists using the bus priority lane on Outer Ring Road (ORR). The penalty was enforced a fortnight after a notification was issued banning the entry of vehicles other than Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses and emergency services on the priority lane between Silk Board junction and K.R. Puram railway station.

“We decided not to impose fines immediately after the notification as we and other agencies, like the BBMP and BMTC, felt there was not enough awareness among the public about the new system,” said a police official with the HSR traffic police station.

As of Saturday night, around 500 motorists, including two-wheeler riders, had been fined for using the priority lane.

The decision caught motorists unawares on Saturday morning, but many felt that the true test will start on Monday when people report to work. Hundreds of employees of offices in tech parks use this stretch on the ORR.

A police personnel posted near A. Narayanapura said that since it was a Saturday the ORR was relatively free. “Come Monday, we will have to see how people will react, especially during peak hours when there is too much rush and everyone is in a hurry. It is going to be a real challenge during the rains as well,” the police said.

As per the notification, offenders would be booked under ‘other offences’ of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The fine amount is ₹500 for the first offence and ₹1,000 for every subsequent one.

K.G. Mohan of Bellandur-Jothege, a civic group, which has been creating awareness among commuters in and around Bellandur, said that both creation of awareness and punitive action against those who break the law was critical to the success of the bus priority lane. “Behavioural change in people, especially when there are no bollards, is crucial. It will take a while for motorists to get accustomed to the rules, and the threat of fines will enforce discipline,” he said.

‘Entry and exit points for service lanes’

Motorists and urban transport experts said that the system is not fool-proof as entry and exit points for service lanes should be demarcated.

“As the bus priority lane is towards the left hand side, where and how can people switch to service roads? Also, how will private vehicles stop to pick up or drop people off,” said urban transport expert Sanjeev V. Dyamannanavar. He added that there are two issues agencies needs to focus on: the safety of commuters and the use of technology to make this initiative a success.

The lack of actual barriers is another challenge. Mr. Mohan suggested using flexible bollards so that motorists don’t drive into the priority lane even by mistake. “Along with fines, there should be something physical to stop people from entering the priority lane,” he said.

Bollards ruled out

BBMP Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar ruled out the use of flexible bollards. “People will get used to the lane. It is all matter of time, practice and discipline,” he said.

Tumakuru Road to Mysuru Road next?

The BBMP is now exploring the possibility of a dedicated lane from Goraguntepalya on Tumakuru Road to Nayandahalli junction on Mysuru Road.

Mr. Kumar told The Hindu that the civic body is in talks with other agencies responsible for implementation of the project, including BMTC, traffic police and the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT). “If everything goes as planned, inspection of the route will be done soon. Agencies now have a good idea of how a dedicated bus lane will work,” he said.

“The dedicated lane from Silk Board junction to K.R. Puram railway station is doing well. There will be more discipline among motorists as the police have started imposing penalties,” he said, adding that the success of the project had grabbed the attention of authorities in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

The BBMP, in the last week of September, had planned to earmark 12 hi-density corridors, including ORR, Hosur Road and Old Airport Road, for introduction of dedicated bus lanes.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 8:53:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/police-start-penalising-motorists-straying-into-bus-priority-lane/article30125471.ece

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